Lawyers of 'L.A. Law' make a case for personal taste

September 15, 1993|By Glenn Esterly

It's no accident that the writers of NBC's "L.A. Law" have portrayed Michael Tucker's character, Stuart Markowitz, over the years as a knowledgeable cook and appreciator of fine food. In real life, that's how Mr. Tucker is; the writers just picked up on it.

And there are a couple of other co-stars from the venerable series who can lay down the law in their own kitchens -- Alan Rachins, who plays law firm partner Douglas Brackman, and A Martinez, who joined the show last fall as another attorney in the firm.

In Mr. Tucker's case, he says, fiction has imitated real life at his Brentwood home with wife Jill Eikenberry, who plays his TV wife, Ann.

"One of my favorite episodes was when I was on the outs with Ann," says Mr. Tucker, "so, as Stuart, I showered her with delicacies -- pate with truffles, fresh lobsters flown in from New England, luscious desserts -- and finally she came around."

Adds Mr. Tucker, laughing, "I can't say it hasn't worked that way once in a while in my own marriage."

For example, Mr. Tucker, a Baltimore native, has been known to improve domestic relations with Ms. Eikenberry, who's from the Midwest, with roast pork sandwiches on garlic bread -- "I make it with a special mustard sauce." Ms. Eikenberry also appreciates Mr. Tucker's pasta salads, which are usually mixed with mushrooms, parsley and a sour cream dressing.

Married for 19 years, Ms. Eikenberry tends to be conservative about calories, while Mr. Tucker's attitude is to go for it.

"If God created veal piccata, I think it's up to me to eat it, for crying out loud."

His basic principle with pasta: "Double-sauce it. Sauce it when you drain it; sauce it again when you eat it. Also, as a ground rule, add more cheese than you think is proper."

Mr. Tucker and Ms. Eikenberry like to picnic with son Max, 10, which calls for Mr. Tucker's so-called "peasant" sandwiches.

Alan Rachins' wife, Joanna Frank, has also played Douglas Brackman's wife on a recurring basis. At their Pacific Palisades home, Mr. Rachins is not the king of the kitchen, like Mr. Tucker, but he gets his shots in.

"Joanna is a great cook and has a certain arrogance about it," says Mr. Rachins. "She takes charge, but sometimes I get off the back burner and let her know it's time to do some cooking myself."

A Rachins' specialty is a pasta, shrimp and vegetable mix "that's ideal for company, because it can be made earlier and served chilled or heated." And when he has to have something with a little more zip, his spicy marinade for grilled swordfish does the trick. "That," he says, "really perks it up."

"I'm a chicken freak," says A Martinez, who plays Daniel Morales at the law firm of McKenzie and Brackman. "I used to eat fish all the time, but I guess I overdid it. It dawned on me one day that I didn't like fish any more because it tasted like . . . fish."

Mr. Martinez (who got his distinctive no-period first name after being named Adolph III and nicknamed Model-A) has an expanding family in his Los Angeles home near the beach. Sons Dakota and Devon are 7 and 4, and wife Leslie is expecting their third child next month.

A typical day for Mr. Martinez starts with breakfast with his family. "We usually eat a bunch of cereals blended together, with fruit, coffee, juice and vitamins."

For lunch when he's working, "It's almost always a turkey sandwich from the studio commissary," says Mr. Martinez. "I seldom eat red meat, except for maybe a cheeseburger a year."

And there's no doubt about dinner.

"Fortunately, Leslie and the kids love chicken, too." He admits the poultry regimen isn't just about a love of chicken. "It ties in with vanity -- keeping fat content down and staying trim."

The Martinez family has had chicken served in about every form imaginable, but one of his favorites is what he calls "great garlic chicken."

Michael Tucker's peasant picnic sandwich

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 (8-inch) round Italian loaf

1/2 pound sliced salami

1/4 pound sliced prosciutto

12 large pitted black olives, halved

4 canned artichoke hearts, halved

6 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese

4 sun-dried tomatoes, halved

2 medium fresh tomatoes, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

salt, pepper

Remove top of bread and set aside. Scoop out most of remaining inside of loaf, leaving 1-inch shell. Layer salami, prosciutto, olives, artichokes, cheese and sun-dried and fresh tomatoes in shell. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Replace top of loaf. Wrap loaf in foil and refrigerate overnight. Cut into wedges to serve.

Alan Rachins' grilled swordfish steaks

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds swordfish steaks

1 cup lime juice

1 cup red wine

1 onion, sliced

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons mild chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Place fish in long, flat baking dish. Combine lime juice, wine, onion, curry powder, chili powder, oregano, oil and parsley, and pour over steaks. Cover and marinate in refrigerator about 2 hours. Remove and bring fish to room temperature.

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